Saints Extend Cameron Jordan for Big Money

According to Fox Sports Mike Garofolo, the New Orleans Saints have extended the contract of defensive end Cameron Jordan for five years and up to $60 million in new money. The base value of the contract looks to be in the $55 million range, which would essentially match the last big contract signed by a 34 defensive end when Calais Campbell signed a new contract in 2012 with the Cardinals. This is an important contract because the 34 defensive end market really didn’t exist and there were a large number of players at the position looking for big pay days.

When I looked at the 34 defensive ends a few weeks ago, Jordan graded out as the best pass rusher not named Watt. Jordan’s deal should now become the model for discussing contracts at the position and it is likely that Muhmmad Wilkerson, Cameron Heyward, Fletcher Cox, etc…will simply work up from here when negotiating a contract. The other players I would think are more complete but the pass rush is almost always the most viable commodity.

The contract should be beneficial for the group since it discounts any argument that Jurrell Casey’s contract, signed a as a defensive tackle before he converted positions, for $9 million is something to quarrel over. It also illustrates the large separation between JJ Watt and the rest of the group, which may squash the dreams of players searching for $14 million at the position, but it is fair to assume that one of the players will end up close to $13 million per year by the time all are signed.

The Saints only had $750,000 or so in cap room, but Jordan made up nearly $7 million of that number. Jordan’s cap number should come down in any extension, especially since the Saints typically rely on signing bonus money in their contracts. To match the cash flows of the Campbell contract, Jordan would need to earn $24 million in the next two years and just over $37 million through 2017.

One way to do that would be to use a $1 million base this year with a $14 million signing bonus. That would reduce his cap charge to $3.8 million for 2015. That would leave them with cap numbers around $12.8 and $14.8 million in the next two years.  If they have other options with the roster for cap room then they could use a similar deal to Junior Galette’s last season which was essentially cap neutral in the year it was signed. Whenever we find out more details I’ll update Jordan’s pages accordingly.

  • theowl

    Jordan is a tough guy to evaluate. A great pass rushing year in 2013, and the rest of his career sort of average. Usually a little better against the run than as a pass rusher according to PFF.
    Not as good a player as Campbell or Casey, but they see him in practice so who knows. I wouldn’t have paid that, but maybe they wanted the cap relief now. Where do they sit on Bryce’s Commitment Index now?

    Wilkerson is gone after this year and his trade value then won’t be much for a player with a franchise tag over 11 million. His only value is this year with him playing at close to 7 million. What is that worth? Maybe a next years 2nd rounder? I think they are going play him and try to get as many wins as they can while L. Williams gets up to speed, then get a 3rd round comp pick in 2017. But who knows someone might give a 4th for him next year.

    • theowl

      Is it worth it to keep the conversation going on Wilkerson… probably not, but I am on a Gunpowder Green Tea high and just went for it.

      • Anthony

        I’ll Bite.

        Hes a 25 year old versatile 3-4 end who has experience as a 0-3-5 technique DE and a 10 sack season under his belt. Additionally, 7 million this year is laughably low, 11 million on a Franchise Tag is still very cheap for his value, and the 14 million hie would cost if a team franchised him again would still be less than Suh has/will cost.

        Wilkerson is a player that should never, ever, ever see free agency off of a rookie contract and certainly not before he turns 30.

        What is he worth? At least a 1 and 4, possibly more. The last player as valuable to be traded in the league was Revis who went for a 1 and 4, and he also had a one year deal, yet his deal stipulated he could not be franchised, and Revis was on his second contract already.

        • theowl

          Well I think you value run stopping monsters more than I do (by monster I mean he does it superbly). There is a reason they are paid less than great 4-3 defensive linemen or a few select 3-4 linemen like Campbell or Watt. Pass rush.

          If the Jets didn’t want to let him get to free agency, they would have extended him last year. Instead they drafted his replacement for much less money. And are going spend that money on another position. Is Haloti Ngata worth a year at 8.5 million? The Ravens traded him for a 4th and a 5th.

          At some point you have to decide what is the value of a player. But you don’t trade draft picks

          pay a player a free agent rate. Because those draft picks have value and then you would be over paying. Like the Seahawks did with Harvin. Granted it wasn’t a high 1s rounder.

          As to what draft picks are worth in terms of dollars, well this site and others are working on that.

          As for Revis… the poorly run organization traded for him and then released him for nothing… the well run organization signed him in free agency for a year, won a championship and then let him go for a third round comp. pick. One team gave up draft picks and the other team will get a draft pick.

          Who do you think got the better of the LeSean McCoy/Kiko Alonso trade?

          Players like Revis, Richard Sherman, Reggie White and Dion Sanders you pay big money to win championships. Not Muhammad Wilkerson. Though some team will… look at Suh’s contract.

          • Anthony

            First off, Haloti Ngata was a 3-4 end, and in his prime was paid 12.5 million a year, not 8.5. However Ngata is on a the last year of a deal after a trade which accelerated his dead money charge, the Lions are paying only his salary for the year. Comparing apples to oranges, like a 31 year old being traded at the end of his contract for salary cap purposes to a 25 year old who plays a different position now can work in some message boards, but not here.

            Watt has no caparisons, so he will be tossed out the window. He’s basically on track to be the greatest defender of all time.

            Campbell is a great comp, as he plays the same position, in the same scheme and does about the same job as Mo. You say he’s a better pass rusher, and in 7 years in the league he’s gotten 43.5 sacks or about 6 a year. You suggest Wilkerson is not a pass rusher, and in 4 years in the league he’s got 24.5 sacks or about 6 a year.

            The fact that this position rushes the passer at all is in an incredibly new phenomena. This was before a position that had absolutely no expectation of getting to the QB. Before Campbell there was no market, now are still only Cameron Jordan and Watt added to the list. Leonard Williams, who was just drafted is the 7th highest paid player by annual value.

            Will they pass 4-3 DEs? Probably not, but it is still a maturing market. Comparing the two positions is as ridiculous as comparing Ngata’s situation to that of Wilkerson’s trade value. More apples to oranges.

          • theowl

            Good arguments. The more you make me study him, the more I like him. How much a year would you pay for him? Campbell money after inflation is now about 13 mil? All high quality 3-4 DEs kick in and become 4-3 DTs on passing downs. I think you are right, he is pretty good at it. Might have been my West Coast bias.

            But getting back to the thrust of my argument. How much does a team give up in trade for a player who will be paid market rate? I used Ngata as an example because he is a 3-4 DE (and versatile like Wilkerson), and on a one year contract for 8.5 mil. The dead money wouldn’t figure into the Raven’s thinking, that counts against the Raven’s cap no matter what. Wilkerson is 3-4 DE on a one year deal for roughly 7 mil. Ngata was traded for a 4 and a 5, minus a 7. Wilkerson is much younger and a better player at this stage of his career, but I think we are lucky to get any comparison at all. I think the Jets might be able to get a 2nd. It sounds like you would give a 1st and a 4th.

            It is true the Seahawks traded a very low 1st rounder (the 31st pick), and Max Unger, for Jimmy Graham. But Graham’s contract was minus his signing bonus. It wasn’t a full market contract… an average of 9 mil a year for three years with no dead money. I could easily see a 1st rounder for Wilkerson if he had Graham’s contract.

            If for franchise purposes we say Wilkerson is a DE, and if the numbers didn’t rise, Franchise and 2nd Franchise year numbers would be around 14.8 mil and 17.8 mil., both of which are more than I would pay Wilkerson (and higher than I thought)…. but inflated because of the 4-3 DE’s and Watt.

            I still say the Jets can trade him for a 2016 2nd rounder now or keep him for a year and get a 3rd round comp. in 2017… which it looks like they will do.

          • Anthony

            West Coast bias… I live in Tokyo. 🙂

            For Franchise purposes he will probably be tagged at the DT rate, which was 11.5 last year (non exclusive).

            He can again be franchised in 2017 at about 13.8 million and 2018 for 16.56. We could have Mo Wilkerson through his entire prime until averaged at around 11 million a year.

            13 a year is the number I thought he would be worth signing, and the Cam Jordan deal is actually exactly the deal I was hoping Mo would sign before the season, and if Idzik wasn’t fired, I think he would be signed. For what its worth, getting a new GM set this franchise back about a year I think. If Idzik was going to be fired, I think Woody probably banned him from being allowed to negotiate contacts.

            The deal I think was originally supposed to be done in December, but our GM being a lame duck prevented that. By the time we had a new GM it was draft season and Mo was on the back burner. Plus a new GM means a whole new negotiation process.

            Wilkerson will not be traded. His value is tremendous. 25 year old Pro Bowlers with no character or injury history who are scheme versatile are more valuable than you are giving them credit for.

            Paying him market value has nothing to do with him as he will presumably spend the entirety of his contract in his prime seasons. The fear is always whether the player in free agency will decline, but as Wilkerson is still ascending, he will have nearly no downside.

            His exact value is subjective, but like you pointed out an All Pro center and a 1st is what Jimmy Graham who is already 28 and highly paid was traded for.

            A 2nd round pick is not reasonable. A comp pick is another ridiculous notion being floated out there. Both of those suggestions would be indicative of laughably poor front office management.

          • theowl

            Tokyo, Awesome. Far east or more west?

            Anyway, all solid points. Especially if Mo is tagged at the DT rate. I personally think 3-4 DEs should be considered defensive tackles, And 4-3 DEs should be with 3-4 OLB’s. But I don’t know… do you know of any examples.

            As for the Jets keeping Mo… if L. Williams is the real deal, and you could get a 1st rounder for him, why not trade him? But, I would definitely extend S. Richardson. I just wouldn’t keep both Richardson and Mo. A good GM can get more value out of the draft pick(s) and saved money.

            Let’s say you value Mo at 13 mil per year. So if Mo would get franchised at the DT rate, his best value to a team would be for the next two years for an average of 9.3 mil a year… I assume you wouldn’t want him for 13.8 or 16.5 mil a year if you value him at 13 mil. And anyone who trades for him, will probably extend him those 3rd and 4th years at 13 per.

            What would you trade for those extra 7.5 million dollars over two years? Chase Stuart had an article in Football Perspective, (http://www.footballperspective.com/trading-salary-cap-dollars-for-draft-picks/), that proposed the question, how much cap space a draft pick was worth. Jason Fitzgerald and others provided a nice discussion in the comments section, but didn’t come up with an exact solution. But let’s say 7.5 mil is worth a 1st rounder.

            I’m guessing he is in line for the DE tag, which would be a savings of 6 mil of cap space… worth a high 2nd.